Commentary
6/4/2008
01:15 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
Commentary

Microsoft Toolkit Promises Error Pages That Don't Suck

Everybody who surfs the Web occasionally encounters the ubiquitous 404 Error pages when you navigate to a Web page that doesn't exist. Most of those Web pages suck, and that's a problem if it's on your company's site. Microsoft thinks it has a solution.



Everybody who surfs the Web occasionally encounters the ubiquitous 404 Error pages when you navigate to a Web page that doesn't exist. Most of those Web pages suck, and that's a problem if it's on your company's site. Microsoft thinks it has a solution.My old colleague Greg Sterling reports on Search Engine Land that Microsoft has come up with a Web Page Error Toolkit designed to help you create dynamic 404 error pages "that contain customized error messages along with search results seeded with relevant keywords to help your users move past the missing page and find the information they need."

Phew.

Of course, it's relatively easy to create a customized error page. bMighty has one, for example. But while our error page offers instructions on how to get to many things bMighty.com readers might be looking for, it's not customized to match what users might actually be seeking.

That's where Microsoft's Toolkit goes one better, as you can see here: errorpage

Best of all, while the Toolkit defaults to Microsoft's Live Search, you can specify it to use any search engine you like, as well as return results for the specified domain and locale, control the number of results returned on your page, choose whether to offer spelling corrections, and customize your error message.

Given that it's estimated that up to 10% of Web traffic turns out to be error pages, it wouldn't exactly be a mistake to implement this on your company's sites.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
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